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Robert F. Spetzler and Neil A. Martin

✓ An important factor in making a recommendation for treatment of a patient with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is to estimate the risk of surgery for that patient. A simple, broadly applicable grading system that is designed to predict the risk of morbidity and mortality attending the operative treatment of specific AVM's is proposed. The lesion is graded on the basis of size, pattern of venous drainage, and neurological eloquence of adjacent brain. All AVM's fall into one of six grades. Grade I malformations are small, superficial, and located in non-eloquent cortex; Grade V lesions are large, deep, and situated in neurologically critical areas; and Grade VI lesions are essentially inoperable AVM's.

Retrospective application of this grading scheme to a series of surgically excised AVM's has demonstrated its correlation with the incidence of postoperative neurological complications. The application of a standardized grading scheme will enable a comparison of results between various clinical series and between different treatment techniques, and will assist in the process of management decision-making.

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Neil A. Martin, Wesley A. King, Charles B. Wilson, Stephen Nutik, L. Phillip Carter, and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ Eight patients with dural arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) of the anterior cranial fossa are presented, and the pertinent literature is reviewed. Unlike cases of dural AVM's in other locations, sudden massive intracerebral hemorrhage was the most frequent reason for presentation. Other symptoms included tinnitus, retro-orbital headache, and a generalized seizure. The malformations were supplied consistently by the anterior ethmoidal artery, usually in combination with other less prominent feeding vessels. The lesion's venous drainage was through the superior sagittal sinus via a cortical vein; in addition, in two cases a subfrontal vein drained the AVM. A venous aneurysm was encountered near the site of anastomosis with the dural feeder in most cases, and was found in all patients who presented with hemorrhage. The AVM was obliterated surgically in six patients, with favorable results achieved in five. One patient died postoperatively from a pulmonary complication. Because of their anatomy and proclivity for hemorrhage, these vascular malformations represent a unique group of dural AVM's. Surgical management of anterior fossa dural AVM's carries low morbidity, and is indicated when the lesions have caused hemorrhage or when there is an associated venous aneurysm.

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Robert F. Spetzler, Neil A. Martin, L. Philip Carter, Richard A. Flom, Peter A. Raudzens, and Elizabeth Wilkinson

✓ A series of 20 patients with giant arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) managed with staged embolization and surgical resection is presented. Complete excision was accomplished in 18 of these patients. There were no deaths and only three complications, of which one was disabling. Further evidence for the presence of low perfusion surrounding the AVM, emphasizing the risk of normal perfusion pressure breakthrough, is provided by cortical perfusion pressure, cortical cerebral blood flow (CBF), and stable xenon computerized tomography CBF measurements.

The staged approach to giant AVM management is a proposed method to render AVM's that were previously considered inoperable or marginally operable into totally excisable lesions, while maintaining an acceptable level of morbidity and mortality.

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Vertebrobasilar insufficiency

Part 2: Microsurgical treatment of intracranial vertebrobasilar disease

Leo N. Hopkins, Neil A. Martin, Mark N. Hadley, Robert F. Spetzler, James Budny, and L. Philip Carter

✓ Posterior circulation transient ischemic attacks have an associated risk of subsequent infarction of approximately 5% per year. Intracranial vertebrobasilar thrombo-occlusive lesions appear particularly likely to result in repetitive ischemic symptoms and in infarction due to hemodynamic insufficiency. The authors present their experience with 45 patients with symptomatic intracranial vertebrobasilar vascular disease despite maximal medical therapy. The specific operative approaches for intracranial vertebral artery endarterectomy and extracranial to intracranial posterior circulation revascularization procedures are outlined.

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Vertebrobasilar insufficiency

Part 1: Microsurgical treatment of extracranial vertebrobasilar disease

Robert F. Spetzler, Mark N. Hadley, Neil A. Martin, Leo N. Hopkins, L. Philip Carter, and James Budny

✓ Extracranial vertebrobasilar artery thrombo-occlusive disease may cause repetitive transient ischemic episodes and, less frequently, brain-stem or cerebellar infarction. This report describes 40 patients who experienced repetitive vertebrobasilar ischemic symptoms despite maximal medical therapy. The natural history, pathogenesis, and treatment options for each causative lesion are reviewed. The operative approaches to symptomatic disease of the proximal vertebral arteries, arterial compression by cervical osteophytes, traumatic lesions of the vertebral arteries, and thrombo-occlusive pathology of the distal extracranial vertebral arteries are outlined. Specific anesthetic and surgical techniques that have proved successful while achieving zero operative mortality and low perioperative morbidity rates are reported.

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Mark N. Hadley, Neil A. Martin, Robert F. Spetzler, and Peter C. Johnson

✓ True mycotic (fungal) aneurysms are distinctly uncommon. The case of a young woman with multiple intracranial aneurysms of Coccidioides immitis origin is presented. Coccidioides immitis organisms are not uncommon central nervous system pathogens and usually cause basilar meningitis and hydrocephalus. There are no previous reports of a coccidioidal mycotic aneurysm. The management of intracranial coccidioidomycosis and fungal aneurysms is reviewed.

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Robert F. Spetzler and Neil A. Martin

✓ An important factor in making a recommendation for treatment of a patient with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is to estimate the risk of surgery for that patient. A simple, broadly applicable grading system that is designed to predict the risk of morbidity and mortality attending the operative treatment of specific AVM's is proposed. The lesion is graded on the basis of size, pattern of venous drainage, and neurological eloquence of adjacent brain. All AVM's fall into one of six grades. Grade I malformations are small, superficial, and located in non-eloquent cortex; Grade V lesions are large, deep, and situated in neurologically critical areas; and Grade VI lesions are essentially inoperable AVM's.

Retrospective application of this grading scheme to a series of surgically excised AVM's has demonstrated its correlation with the incidence of postoperative neurological complications. The application of a standardized grading scheme will enable a comparison of results between various clinical series and between different treatment techniques, and will assist in the process of management decision-making.

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Mark N. Hadley, Robert F. Spetzler, Roberto Masferrer, Neil A. Martin, and L. Philip Carter

✓ A 17-year-old boy suffered blunt trauma to the posterior cervical spine and later developed vertebrobasilar transient ischemic attacks refractory to medical management. At angiography, a pseudoaneurysm of the distal left vertebral artery was found. By means of a posterior midline approach, an extradural occipital artery to vertebral artery anastomosis was performed and the affected vertebral artery was clipped distal to the pseudoaneurysm. The indications for this procedure, the operative approach, and the clinical outcome are described.